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Brooks Mayfield, left, and Steve Mayfield, share a commitment to get the Right to Try legislation passed by Congress.

Even as he was dying, Steve Mayfield's focus was on helping others.

The former Central High School football coach died in 2017 after a long battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He also fought for the Right to Try Bill, which would allow terminally ill patients to try potentially life-saving experimental drugs without awaiting the lengthy approval process from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"Steve always said he didn't believe it would help him in time, but that he wanted to do it to help other people," said his brother, Mark Mayfield. "He believed it would help people after him."

Mayfield's family, including his son, Brooks Mayfield, continued to lobby for the bill after his death. The movement gained momentum in January when U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks spoke in its favor on the House floor while telling Mayfield's story.

On Tuesday, the bill passed through the House and is awaiting a signature from President Donald Trump.

His widow, Amy Mayfield, said she and her son, Brooks, watched the vote on C-SPAN. She said it was an emotional moment when it passed, and she saw the excitement from her 24-year-old son, who has autism.

"It's very bittersweet," Mayfield said. "He was absolutely thrilled to death. We wish it had come in time to help Steve, but we know it will help so many others after him and that's all he cared about.

"Brooks has been so instrumental in getting this done. He just waited with bated breath while they were voting. It's a happy day for all the terminally ill patients out there right now."

She thanks Brooks and hopes she and her son will be in Washington, D.C., for the bill's signing.

Mark Mayfield said he is thrilled for his nephew.

"I was just so proud of Brooks," he said. "He has just been tireless. He's gotten to go to Washington a couple of times and met with the congressmen. All of their secretaries know him by his first name because he calls them so much. He's just a great kid and really was an advocate for his daddy."

Brooks stated in a release that the Mayfields played a role in the success of the bill, which passed by a 250-169 vote.

"I was inspired to support Right to Try by the story of Steve Mayfield of Lauderdale County, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2014," the U.S. representative stated. "He not only had to fight ALS, he had to fight the federal government for the right to try possibly lifesaving treatments. Sadly, Steve passed away, but his family still advocates for the Right to Try Act. Thanks to the passion and hard work of folks like Steve Mayfield's family, the Right to Try Act is now headed to the president's desk for signature."

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

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